WASHINGTON (CN) – Hundreds of Taliban fighters who surrendered to U.S. forces died of asphyxiation in shipping containers while the U.S. Defense Department shipped them from the surrender point in Konduz to a prison in Shebergan, and their corpses are among 2,000 in a mass grave at Dasht-e-Leili, Afghanistan, Physicians for Human Rights claims in a federal complaint.
The physicians demand documents on the mass grave from the Pentagon, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Special Operations Command.
The mass grave is about 78 miles west of Mazar-I-Sharif, the complaint states. The Taliban allegedly died at the end of November 2001 after surrendering, and their bodies were buried in December 2001. U.S. forces allegedly were providing security at the Shebergan when the container trucks arrived.
Physicians for Human Rights says its representative visited the mass grave early in 2002 and “documented skeletal remains – some with human tissue still attached, indicating recent burial – shoes, prayer beads, and prayer caps in the graves.”
After Newsweek reported the mass grave, the State Department promised to investigate, the complaint states. The Pentagon stonewalled Physicians for Human Rights’ demand for documents from the investigation. It wants to see the records.